Bob Mankoff at the New Yorker’s offices, where he has been the keeper of the funny for two decades. (Jesse Dittmar for The Washington Post)
THE MOST FAMOUS line Bob Mankoff has ever written, as spoken by a cartoon executive at a desk, is: “No, Thursday’s out. How about never — is never good for you?”
So it seems somehow in tune that official word came on a Thursday that Mankoff will be out as cartoon editor of the New Yorker, effective at the end of April — even if, given his passionate two-decade run in the job, it was easy to imagine him never leaving such a well-suited editorship behind.
New Yorker editor David Remnick announced yesterday that Mankoff will step down and that the magazine’s Emma Allen will inherit the post. Mankoff says that he’ll continue to contribute cartoons to the publication, and that he’ll keep working on the forthcoming book “The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons.”
“He has brought everyone’s best work to the table and managed a complicated balancing act with grace,” Remnick said of Mankoff in a staff note that also praised the outgoing editor’s careful buildup of a stable of fresh, diverse cartooning voices.
“What I absolutely take satisfaction in is that, as I leave as cartoon editor, I leave the New Yorker and my successor with a bumper crop of new and talented cartoonists who came in under my tenure,” Mankoff tells The Post’s Comic Riffs on Thursday.
“To name a few, Liana Finck, Emily Flake, Drew Dernavich, Paul Noth, Harry Bliss, Edward Steed,” Mankoff says, before wryly deciding to name more than a few: “Alex Gregory, David Sipress, Joe Dator, Zachary Kanin, Farley Katz, Pat Byrnes, Ben Schwartz, Tom Toro, Chris Weyant, Amy Hwang — well, you get the idea.”
Mankoff also leaves the magazine with the online Cartoon Bank, a visual vault he founded a quarter-century ago, during the Internet’s mainstream infancy, as a new source of revenue.
“In the early ’90s, the market for magazine cartoons was already not only drying up, but dried up,” Mankoff says. “There was still the Everest of the New Yorker, but the rest of the markets were pretty much the equivalent of foothills.